Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bulls Win 2nd Straight, Defeat the Bucks 90-77

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls pulled off another victory Tuesday night when they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks at home 90-77. Carlos Boozer lead the way with 24 points and 9 rebounds. Derrick Rose had another double double with 18 points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds. Luol Deng continued to quietly be awesome by tallying 24 points and 5 rebounds. Former Bull, John Salmons lead the way for Milwaukee with 18 points and 4 rebounds.

I only watched a few parts of this game. It was one of those uneventful games where you were never really scared the Bulls would blow a lead. Carlos Boozer has been ridiculously helpful lately averaging 20 points and 9 rebounds in his first 15 games. He absolutely manhandled the Bucks defense. The Bulls' reserves were able to almost completely shut out Andrew Bogut who finished with just 4 points. It's funny because everyone was so high on the Milwaukee Bucks at the beginning of the season but they've been kind of a disappointment and I wouldn't be surprised to see Philly sneak up and grab the 8th seed from them. Sure, having Brandon Jennings out hurts but so does having about 5 or 6 wings instead of having any real power forwards.

With this win, the Bulls have won 11 out of their last 13 and improve to 20-10 for the season. This would really be something if the Celtics and Heat weren't doing so damn good. January is a very easy month for the Bulls and they're going to need to continue to play hard even against mediocre opponents to keep the 3rd seed in the east. With the Orlando Magic starting to win games again, it's imperative that Chicago can beat teams like New Jersey and Indiana on a consistent basis.

The Bulls take on the New Jersey Nets in a special New Years Eve matinee game Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on WGN America. Hopefully the Bulls can keep taking care of business until Noah returns.

Go Bulls!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Boozer & Rose Lead Bulls Past Wizards 87-80

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls pulled off a win in what seemed to be a terrible game, beating the Wizards 87-80. Carlos Boozer lead the way with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Derrick Rose tallied 25 points, 5 assists and 3 blocks. Former Bull, Kirk Hinrich lead the way for the Wizards with 19 points and 9 assists starting in place of injured rookie point guard, John Wall. New Wizards acquisition Rashard Lewis made a rather quiet debut for Washington, coming off the bench to score just 8 points.

I didn't get a chance to watch this one. I actually fell asleep for the entire duration of the game. When I woke up to watch it on League Pass replay, I saw that it was a NBATV game and was blacked out. I really think the league should do something about that. TNT, ESPN & ABC are all channels that are on every basic cable plan. NBATV is not. If it's a station owned by the NBA, you should be able to access it through League Pass, especially if you're paying $110.00 for a plan to watch games on the freakin' internet.

Anyways, after watching highlights and looking at the box score it looks like the Bulls played kinda loose the first half and then held Washington to just 30 points in the 2nd half. I'm really glad Boozer has been able to come back from that broken hand injury and play like the all-star caliber player the Bulls are paying him to be. Taj Gibson made his return after his concussion from the Clippers loss. He played only 31 seconds. I guess Thibs just figured they didn't really need to use him and to let him rest another day before they need him on Christmas against the Knicks. Kurt Thomas once again started in place of Taj and scored just 4 points but also tallied 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. It looks like Thomas will be starting against the Knicks.

The Bulls will be playing their first Christmas game this Saturday since 1997 when they beat the Miami Heat 90-80. Interestingly enough, the first Bulls game I ever watched was the 1994 Christmas game against the New York Knicks where they won 107-104 in overtime.

The Bulls take on the New York Knicks at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN this Saturday. This is a game that will really test how well the Bulls can play without Joakim Noah.

Go Bulls and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bulls Blow Out 76ers 121-76!

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls avenged their one point loss from Saturday night with a 45 point win over the Philadelphia 76er's, winning 121-76. Derrick Rose lead the way for Chicago scoring 22 points along with dishing out 12 assists. Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Luol Deng had a solid outing with 22 points but the player of the game was quite unexpected. Kurt Thomas started in place of the injured Taj Gibson and tallied 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks. Wow. Andre Iguodala lead the 76er's with 17 points and 4 rebounds. The Bulls shot a ridiculous 64.5 % from the field and at one point lead by 51 points. This was the Bulls 8th win in 9 games.

This was obviously a great win to help the Bulls regain some swagger after losing to the VDN lead Clippers on Saturday night. It's fantastic to see a veteran like Kurt Thomas step up during a starting role when he's barely played the first 2 months of the season. Thomas manhandled former Bull, Elton Brand. Ronnie Brewer has been awesome lately. He's definitely fully recovered from his injuries and is really making a case to be a full time starter. Deng looked way better than Iguodala last night. I really wish that all of those Deng for whoever trade rumors would just stop. It would be hard to even find someone who's as consistent as him. Yes, he's overpaid but he knows his role and has added a 3 point shot to it. The Bulls just need a shooting guard and they'll be considered a real threat.

The Bulls are now 17-9, currently sitting on the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is one game ahead of the Atlanta Hawks and 2 games ahead of plummeting Orlando Magic. I really think that the #2 seed is achievable if one of the Miami Heat's big three goes down

The trade the Orlando Magic pulled off on Saturday is going to be a complete bust. Pretending Hedo Turkoglu is still good and bringing Gilbert Arenas off the bench is just silly. Jason Richardson is the only real steal the Magic got from that deal. The Magic lost again last night actually starting Turkoglu at the 4 (WTF). This desperate move will probably have Dwight Howard heading out west in two years. Great job Otis Smith!

The Bulls start a 3 game road trip tonight against the John Wall-less Washington Wizards. Look for Rashard Lewis to make his debut with Washington. It'll be interesting to see how well he performs for the Wiz. The Bulls really need to get out there and put Washington away fast so they can concentrate on their Christmas matinee game against the now relevant New York Knicks.

Go Bulls!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Noah's Looming Surgery Overshadow's Bulls 7th Straight Victory

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls were able to pull off a 17 point victory over a shorthanded Toronto Raptors team Wednesday night, winning 110-93. Carlos Boozer absolutely manhandled the Raptors front line scoring 34 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. A hobbled Derrick Rose scored just 6 points but added 11 assists. The always solid Luol Deng scored 19 points including three 3-pointers. The Raptors were without their two best players, Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon. New Raptors acquisition Jerryd Bayless lead the way for Toronto, scoring 20 points. This was the Bulls 7th straight victory which pulled them ahead of the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference standings.

This was a nice win against an already awful team that was REALLY shorthanded. Derrick Rose just had to distribute the ball inside to Booz and the points would keep coming. It's nice to have such an efficient post guy down low who can disassemble a team's front court with even trying. The Bulls scored 63 points in the paint.

The night was overshadowed around halftime when K.C. Johnson tweeted some really bad news that the Bulls were prepared to announce surgery on Joakim Noah's thumb after the game. While Noah played last night putting up 11 points and 11 rebounds in just 26 minutes, he will undergo surgery today and be out an estimated 8-10 weeks. Noah will be back the 2nd week of February at the earliest. So what does this mean for the Chicago Bulls? Possible disaster.

The Bulls have a somewhat easy schedule over the next month or so with the exception of a few games against Boston, Miami, Dallas & New York (even though I don't want to acknowledge that they're good). While no game is ever a given in the NBA, there's about 21 winnable games before the Bulls reach the 2nd week of February.

Chicago will most likely look to start Taj Gibson at center. I don't know how I really feel about this since I think Asik would probably do well starting. He's a great defender and can throw down Turkish white boy style on any given night. Noah's injury also means more minutes for Luol Deng and Kurt Thomas. Deng's already playing too many minutes but has emerged as the most consistant Bull this season so his ability to contribute on rebounding and defense is a must.

The Bulls only have 1 game in 5 nights this week when former Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro makes his return to the United Center Saturday night with a 5-21 Blake Griffin lead, L.A. Clippers team.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bulls Send Cavs to 6th Straight Loss, Win 88-83!

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls won their 3rd straight game on Wednesday night when they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 88-83. Derrick Rose lead the way as usual, scoring 29 points and dishing out 9 assists. Joakim Noah put up another double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds including 2 really big free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game to help seal the win. Antwan Jamison lead the Cavs with 21 points and 6 rebounds. Anderson Varejao also had a great game scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

I started watching this game at the beginning of the 2nd half due to me thinking the game was on at 8:00 p.m. instead of 7:00 p.m. The Bulls were up by 6 at that point but quickly lost the lead when Antwan Jamison turned it on. Coach Thibodeau went small most of the game at one point putting Rose at the 2 with C.J. Watson running the offense. Carlos Boozer only played 20 minutes after Thibs decided that he wasn't athletic enough to guard Jamison on the perimeter.

The 4th quarter was pretty exciting with Kyle Korver catching fire and hitting 5 straight shots along with a free throw before throwing up a clanker. It was funny since the Cavs broadcasting crew mentioned that if Korver gets two shots to go that he might not miss. Korver is a great shooter and REALLY needs to be promoted to the starting SG job. Bogans starting and playing only 8 minutes makes zero sense. All coaches are stubborn about at least one stupid thing and this is Thibs' glitch. Skiles' was not starting Ben Gordon, VDN had way too many to name.

Derrick Rose eventually took over the game, weaving in and out traffic and somehow finding openings and getting ridiculous layups. I'm going to have to agree with something Kelly Dwyer said on Balls Don't Lie the other day...Rose may be the fastest basketball player in the league in terms of getting from the 3 point line to the basket. He's simply remarkable and it's great to see him in a sort of MVP mode. Rose made the play of the game when he went up for a layup, was fouled by Mo Williams and willed a shot in. Noah sank two free throws after an offensive foul at the other end of the floor and the Bulls went on to win.

This game reminded me why Anderson Varejao is still my least favorite player in the league. That guy would fall down and try to sell a foul if someone threw a box of toothpicks at him. In one particular instance while going up for a shot, faded away and faked a hit to try to get an and-1 play. Varejao made the shot but no foul was called. The next instance was a few moments later when Noah put maybe 1/2 lb of pressure on Varejao's shoulder going for a rebound and he fell to his knees as if he was tripped. The refs actually bought that call. Play the freakin' game and stop falling down all the time! I do think Varejao is a solid defender and a high energy guy but let's face it, he'll always be a poor man's Noah.

In the end it was great to see the Bulls win a game that they should have won. Building up confidence before a home game against the Lakers is always a good thing. Cleveland has been in a real funk since LeBron came to town and raped their hopes and dreams with a 39 point explosion. I feel bad for the Cavs and would have much rather seen LeBron stay there than go down to Miami but like Noah said, Cleveland does suck. With this win the Bulls improve to 12-8. Chicago is now 2 games ahead of the Pacers in the Central Division after their loss to Milwaukee last night. The Bulls are only 1.5 games away from obtaining the 3 seed in the East trailing the Miami Heat.

The Bulls will be hosting the Los Angeles Lakers tomorrow evening in a nationally televised game on ESPN. The action starts at 8:00 p.m. Chicago has lost 7 straight to the Lakers and haven't had a win against them since December 19, 2006. The Bulls are dodging a big bullet since Andrew Bynum won't be making his return to the Lakers until next Tuesday against the Wizards.

Go Bulls!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Boozer Gives Thunder the Business, Bulls Win 99-90!

By Sean Mackey

The Bulls were finally able to dish out some payback for their opening night loss on Monday night when they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-90. Carlos Boozer was in full swing showing Bulls fans how awesome it is to finally have a post presence in the Windy City. Boozer put up 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Derrick Rose had an off night shooting 3-13, scoring only 11 points and dishing out 9 assists. Joakim Noah got into foul trouble early and only played 20 minutes but still managed to pull down 12 rebounds. Luol Deng also had another solid outing (aren't they all solid at this point?) with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Kevin Durant lead the OKC Thunder in scoring with 29 points in an otherwise uninspiring performance.

This was a game the Bulls really needed to win. After barely coming away with a win against Houston the other night, it was great to see them actually play as a functioning unit. Derrick Rose is the best player on the Bulls but tonight showed he doesn't even have to put out a great performance for the team to pull off a win. While I expect Rose to probably fall out of the top 10 in scoring this season with the arrival of Booz, Rose is still the best scorer on the team.

The OKC Thunder are a great team, everyone including myself projects them to go deep into the playoffs this season. The problem with the Thunder is Jeff Green. He's a 3 playing a 4 and it's evident that they're missing a post up guy. It'll be really interesting to see if Green's contract is extended after this season. I could see a team like the Cavs making a push for him if they can't pry Iggy from the 76ers. I've read a lot of rumors of Marcin Gortat possibly getting shipped out to OKC as well. He'd be a pretty good fit.

Also, sorry for the long gap in updates. I was on vacation for about 2 weeks in November and while the circus trip was a success, I wasn't excited enough to write about a team without Boozer. Some Bulls fan I am...anyways, hopefully blog entries will be more frequent again.

The Bulls take on the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night at the United Center. With a relatively weak schedule coming up (with the exception of the Lakers on Friday night), the Bulls should be able to build up a decent win streak somewhere in there.